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“Very Relaxing and Enjoyable Experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Jackie's on the Reef

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Jackie's on the Reef
3.0 of 5 Spa   |   West End Rd, Negril, Jamaica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 90 Hotels in Negril
Wilson, North Carolina
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
192 helpful votes 192 helpful votes
“Very Relaxing and Enjoyable Experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2013

We stayed at Jackie’s on the Reef starting Feb 20 and checked-out on Feb 23, 2013.

Jackie’s is a wonderful place to relax and devote some time to your inner-self. It is right on the water, and the wonderful sound of the waves crashing against the rocks is very soothing and tranquil.

We enjoyed the optional yoga classes every morning, and also had the opportunity to get some one-on-one yoga instruction. There were two different yoga instructors while we were there. My wife had never done yoga, and she found it very enjoyable for the three days we were there.

The meals were very good, with the organic fruits and vegetables locally grown. The fish and chicken was fresh and is also from local sources. All of the meals were wonderful and we were exposed to many local fruits and dishes. All of the food is cooked to one of Jackie’s recipes. We had hot tea or coffee each morning with breakfast, and a cold drink and also hot tea every night with supper. Many of the cold drinks and teas are made from items grown on the property.

There are many comments in other reviews about the open bathrooms and showers, but there is not really any problem in using them. There is plenty of privacy, so we did not find that to be an issue.

Jackie is a very spiritual person, and is not affiliated with any specific religion. In a review below, someone called her an evangelist, and I think that is very far from the truth. Jackie is very easy to talk with, and my wife and I, along with all the other guests, talked, laughed, and joked. If you want to talk about spirituality, Jackie is glad to do so, and if you don’t, that is also okay.

We had some great conversations with Jackie, and our stay was a refreshing and a wonderful experience. All of the guests that were there were really having a great time. There were eight other guests when we arrived, and two left the following day. The environment at Jackie’s is very conducive to relaxation, and spending time with your inner yourself, to contemplate, and to get refreshed.

They have a wonder pool that is filled and constantly refreshed by the oceans waves. I have never seen anything like this before. The ocean water is warm, and the pool was very enjoyable. The pool stays at about 3-1/2 feet in depth. The pool is located on top of the rocky shore. About every six or seventh wave will wash up over the rocks and make their way to the pool to fill it. The rocks filter out any sand or fish. Then the water drains back out to a certain level to keep the pool at about 3-1/2 feet in depth. The water is always clear and clean, and is constantly being refreshed naturally by the ocean.

We took a short trip to Rick’s Café while we were at Jackie’s. Rick’s is a great place to visit, and to watch the divers dive into the clear, deep water. Visitors can jump/dive off of the lower rocks (about 25-30 feet), while some of the “regular” divers dive from a platform about 60-70 feet above the water. The “regular” divers go around collecting money in a bucket to watch them dive off of the platform or rocks. When they collect about $20 they will make the dive. We ate lunch there and the food was good. Jackie arranged the cab to take us to Rick’s and also pick us up at a specified time and take us back to Jackie’s.

If you need a wifi connection while at Jackie’s, you can go to the Westender (located next to Jackie’s) or sit in Jackie’s main building on the side closest to the Westender to pick-up a signal. Sometimes the signal fades in and out, but generally it was a decent connection. If you go to the Westender restaurant you will get a solid signal.

I would highly recommend Jackie’s if you want to get “away from it all”, and get back to some basic living, great conversations, relaxation, and take time for yourself and to also enjoy yourself.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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122 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Dayton, Ohio, United States
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2013

Jackie’s On the Reef is like nothing else I have ever experienced. My sister and I found a great deal for Jackie’s while researching possible destinations. We had no idea what to expect out of a “spa retreat”, and there was nothing that could have prepared us for our experience.
Jackie’s is extremely secluded from the hustle-bustle of Negril. It is on the very far end of the island, which is good and bad. It’s an amazing place to escape from your busy and fast-paced lives. However, there is also no cell phone service of any kind. I made sure to activate my international cell phone plan before I left, but my sister and I both had to drive into Negril to have any service. This made it extremely difficult to communicate with our loved ones back home. Another downfall to the location is that you have to pay for a taxi service to get anywhere. The taxi costs can really add up if you’re planning to leave for any excursions.
Jackie’s is truly is one of the most relaxing and spiritual places I have ever been. Stepping onto the grounds, your stress is immediately washed away. Be prepared to shower and use the bathroom in an outdoor space. While I got used to it very quickly, many people would be very uncomfortable with the set up. Be prepared to be one with nature – and possibly the folks who vacationing in the hotel next door! 
The food was fresh ingredients every day and delicious – we didn’t have a bad meal.
Every morning began with a yoga class and the yoga instructors were amazing. I have taken many classes and have never had such a positive experience.
Several important things that I wish I would have known before I went: 1. Jackie does not accept credit cards for anything. And, ATMs are not easy to find Negril. Be prepared with plenty of cash! 2. If you are looking for a vacation that includes enjoying the local nightlife, this may not be the trip for you. In addition to being a good distance from any nightlife, Jackie’s gates are locked around dusk and it is no easy task to return to the resort after-hours.
Ironically, as relaxing and serene as this location is, Jackie brings a certain level tension to the experience. There were several times that our schedules were thrown off (we are on vacation in a foreign country and some things can’t be planned to the minute – nor do we want them to!) and we felt reprimanded by Jackie for being late for a meal or a class. I took it in stride, but feel as though a portion of our vacation was compromised by the lack of flexibility and by the overall sense of unease around Jackie.
If you are looking for a real getaway to decompress with zero distractions, Jackie’s is the perfect destination. Come with an extremely open mind and a desire to do nothing but de-stress.

Room Tip: The "Dome" is amazing, and so unique; however, the location is very, very breezy. This of...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jackies R, office assistant at Jackie's on the Reef, responded to this review, May 14, 2013
Thank you for your valued review, I am happy to hear you had a wonderful stay. It is true; Jackie’s on the Reef is not for everyone. We are a sanctuary retreat, where one can escape and dis connect from a busy and fast paced life for a few days. Having said that, thank you again for the review, it was full of useful information and we appreciate it.

Sincerely,
JSR
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013 via mobile

If you need to get away from the hussle and bussle, crime, all TV and electronics. Enjoy yoga,delicious food, healthy fruit drinks, delicious coffee and teas. Or a conversation and some words of wisdom from Jackie. Not to mention the best vies of the ocean. This place has all this and more.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lexington, KY
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

My wife and I were not prepared for the world we stepped into when we arrived at Jackie's on the Reef. I had extended our warm weather vacation by making reservations at Jackie's through a Living Social deal. When I realized this all natural resort and spa had no TV's, no radios, signs that said "turn your cell phone off", my type A personality started to revolt. Within an hour Jackie's had totally immersed me in her world and I totally relaxed. My wife was thrilled with the environment immediately. We stayed in a round room separated from the main building and it was so different and perfect in size and decor and had a huge screen-covered opening to look out on the grounds and the beautiful blue Caribbean. The bath facilities were open air with a high wall around them and very adequate. At dinner that night I asked one of the guests if they knew what time it was since they had a watch on. Jackie, who ate with us most nights, interrupted quickly and said "night time". The message was clear and correct, it really didn't matter what time it was. The personnel are very good at what they do and extremely friendly. The treatments are professional, well done and effective. Jackie is a unique individual that you will get to know and be glad for it. Maurice is in charge of the food and it is colorful, flavorful and healthful. We looked forward to every meal and were never disappointed. Ranger is Jackie's main assistant and does a great job. He even gave us a nice tour of his plot of land across from Jackie's and showed us many of the herbs, vegetables and fruits they grow to include in the meals. The yoga instructors are first class. It was our first encounter with yoga classes so I can offer no technical review, but we knew we had had a good workout at 8:30 each morning before breakfast. I could spend several thousand words trying to describe the grounds, but you just have to see it to understand. Our four nights passed much too quickly and we knew when we went out the gate and to our taxi for the ride back to the Montego Bay airport that we were soon to be immersed back into the cruel world that seemed so distant at Jackie's on the Reef. It had been years since we had both felt so good mentally and physically. Thanks Jackie, we'll do our best to come back!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

As soon as you arrive at Jackie’s, you are immersed in another world. The rhythm of the sea, the slow pace with which everyone moves, the soft music, the gentle fragrance of incense, and the simple but mystical design of the buildings combine to envelope you in an atmosphere of calm and relaxation. Your blood pressure instantly plummets.

We spent six days at Jackie’s. We originally sought a more traditional Jamaican beach vacation rather than a spa retreat, but when we saw the Groupon for Jackie’s, it looked like the right choice. Healthy delicious food, no booze, beautiful ocean view, and morning yoga all appealed to us. What clinched the deal were the seawater pool and snorkeling on the reef that were highlighted on the Groupon, which would provide enough water sports for us. It turned out that the pool is too small to swim in and not terribly cooling, and snorkeling is possible only when the sea is very calm, which never happened while we were there. We might not have chosen to stay here had we known that no aerobic activity was available. Was this misleading advertising? Not on the website, which makes no mention of a pool and barely mentions snorkeling. And probably not intentionally. But we do think any future promotions on Groupon and Living Social should be revised to guard against false expectations.

You might get the impression from photos or reviews that this is a luxury resort, but it’s actually quite ascetic. The rooms lack air-conditioning and are sparsely furnished, without even a good place to lay out your clothes. We wanted to stay in the Dome, but it was reserved for part of our stay, so we spent four nights there and two nights in the Cottage. The Dome is magical: waking up with that view of the ocean is breathtaking. Modesty is not a priority; you can’t “close the curtains.” Both rooms have outdoor bathrooms that are discreetly sheltered, though the Dome’s bathroom appears to be visible to some rooms at the Westender next door. If you are not comfortable using the toilet outdoors and in view of your roommate, you may have an issue. The Cottage bathroom is covered, but the Dome bathroom is not, so when it rains, showering is glorious but peeing is not.

Breakfast and dinner are included in the daily rate. Every breakfast comes with a cold glass of fresh orange juice (additional costs extra) and a deconstructed fruit salad consisting of at least six different fruits. The pineapple was a bit disappointing, but the banana and mango were divine, so much better than anything you can find at your grocery store back home. Sweetsop was new to us and very tasty. We also had papaya, starfruit, watermelon, and tangerine. Breakfast also included either waffles, pancakes, hot cereal, or ackee (a popular Jamaican breakfast consisting of a fruit that resembles scrambled eggs). These were generally good, though one of us found the ackee too salty to eat and the cereals too pasty and bland. Also included is one cup of coffee, served as a spiced cappuccino, or herbal tea. Since the climate is so hot, even in winter, we would have preferred more cold foods and drinks and fewer hot ones. The herbs, greens, and many of the fruits are grown on the premises. If you ask, Jackie will give you a tour of her garden.

Dinner is always grilled seafood or chicken (or vegetarian, should you choose), accompanied by a starch, two vegetables, the juice of a fruit plus ginger, and a cup of herbal tea. The juices are incredible. The dinners are very good, but the meats are overcooked and dry, and the flavor profile gets monotonous. The website says, “We serve an eclectic offering of fresh healthy foods derived from classical Jamaican, Indian, Chinese and Creole cuisines,” but we experienced only two seasonings total in the week we spent there, the normal spice blend and the curry spices.

We received a rare treat one day when Jackie discovered that all of her guests were celebrating birthdays or honeymoons. She threw budgetary caution to the wind and changed the dinner menu to lobster, champagne, and homemade cake.

The breakfast and dinner servings are ample, but not so much that you can skip lunch. We had lunch at Jackie’s once -- the shrimp salad -- and it was excellent, but as we tired of the same flavors, we went elsewhere for our lunches. All the other food in Jamaica tasted fat and greasy compared to Jackie’s. Jackie puts out a cooler of herb-flavored rainwater which grows lukewarm later in the day, but there is no other food or drink available on the premises off-hours, so bring granola bars in case you get the munchies before dinner or late at night

Upon arrival, you receive a schedule -- breakfast at 9:30-10:00, dinner at 5:30 or 6:00. In fact, it’s 10:30 and 7:00. Similary, an 11:00 appointment for a spa treatment might not happen until 11:45, which can disrupt any excursion plans. The website says that, among other things, morning walks, snorkeling, fireside talks and story telling are included in the daily rate. But once you get there, a handout informs you that “We do not have a structured day program.” Indeed, none of these should be construed as organized activities, and none happened during our visit, though the treatments that everyone raves about were wonderful. The facial was especially heavenly.

We both participated in yoga each morning. Lizzie is a veteran, but I had never done yoga before. It is very peaceful and gives your muscles a wonderful stretch. We had four different instructors in six days, so we got to sample the variety of approaches that are out there. Grace was our favorite, very enthusiastic and supportive. Jackie led yoga one day, and we are guessing she is not licensed to do so, because (among other things) she had us do tiger pose with face pointed to the sky, which all yoga professionals warn against due to the risk of neck injury if you lose your balance.

Google Maps pinpoints Jackie’s location at a spot that’s a three-minute drive south from the traffic circle in Negril, but that’s wrong. It’s 15 minutes south, in a remote location, so don’t consider walking anywhere except to the Westender Inn next door. If you want to go to Seven Mile Beach, a restaurant, or souvenir shopping, Jackie will call you a taxi that charges $30 for the round-trip to Negril. Use the Westender’s van instead. In contrast to the dilapidated taxis, it is modern and air-conditioned, and the charge is $3.50 per person each way.

Jackie let us use her computer once to make sure things were fine back home. If you feel the need to be more connected, the Westender restaurant across the street has free wifi. Your cell phone won’t work in Jamaica, but another couple combined wifi, a smart phone, and Skype to phone home.

The entire business is run by Jackie. Her influence pervades every aspect of your stay. On the plus side, this reinforces the atmosphere of relaxation and calm. But her desire to evalgelize her guests with a philosophy of peace can strain the atmosphere if she senses that anyone disagrees with her strong opinions. This perspective can also be a detriment to customer service. Didn’t sleep well? Rather than investigating (which would have led her to discover that our problem was a malfunctioning fan) she suggests you learn how to relax. Disappointed that you can’t snorkel? Rather than arrange for an alternative she says, “That’s nature, not me.”

We had an unfortunate incident at checkout. Jackie’s business does not accept credit cards, and the nearest ATM is 15 minutes away by car, so don’t make the mistake I made. I ran short of enough cash for an adequate tip. How did Jackie apply creative problem-solving to this situation? “You don’t like me, do you?” Such an inappropriate response from a hospitality services professional! But Jackie would never conceive of herself in such terms. She is an evangelist, and this can compromise the quality of your experience.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quincy, Massachusetts
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

Jackie has the finest backyard I have ever snorkeled in!! I cannot say enough positive things about this trip. It was like staying at the home of a close friend, but having privacy when we wanted it. My girlfriend and I spent four nights at Jackie's. She accommodated our vegan diets, was a pleasure to have breakfast and dinners with, and was really on top of making sure guests enjoyed themselves. The yoga instructors were fantastic and the treatments were the most soothing I have ever had. I have had some massages before, but nothing like this. The body scrub left me feeling renewed and relaxed. Again, I can't say enough about this place. The pictures do not do it justice. Just do yourself a favor and stay here.

Room Tip: Try and ask for a detached room, but ANY room is amazing.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn,New York, USA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012

Surrounded by lush flora, the fragrance of flowers, the ocean breezes make this a peaceful
and idyllic setting.
Adding to this, the staff was very gracious and attentive, delicious meals created from
Jackie's recipes, yoga in the morning, a message by the sea and the starlit night -
Simply made this all so wonderful!
Most of all, thank you Jackie for making my five day stay so relaxing, enjoyable and
memorable.
Irene R.

Room Tip: All accommodations are good. I happen to like the cottage I stayed at. It was quaint, cozy and comf...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jackie's on the Reef

Address: West End Rd, Negril, Jamaica
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Negril
#26 Family Hotel in Negril
#32 Romantic Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Jackie's on the Reef 3*
Number of rooms: 4
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Also Known As:
Jackie`s On The Reef Hotel Negril
Jackies On The Reef Negril

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